Siuslaw sizzling on links

The 2023 Siuslaw boys golf team after the varsity team won its fifth straight tournament on April 11, from left, Jacob Welton, Wyatt Wells, Camden Linton, Jaxon Chiang, Charles Nelson, Braxton Hulet, Talin Loomis, Ryan Klampe and Will Johnson. Photo courtesy Ron Klampe

5 straight wins for Viking boys golf team

April 19, 2023 — When Chuck Johnson restarted the Siuslaw golf program last year most expected there would be a rough period where, after an eight year hiatus, the Vikings would work to rebuild the team from the ground up.

That rough period did not last very long.

The Viking golf team has given warning to the entire state of Oregon that Siuslaw golf is most definitely back as indicated by the remarkable streak the boys team is on.

On April 17 the Siuslaw Viking boys traveled to Salishan Golf Course, north of Newport, and posted its lowest team score of the season (351) to pick up its fifth consecutive team tournament win.

Preceding the win at Salishan the Viks had wins at Florence Golf Links on April 12, McNary Golf Course on April 11, Diamond Woods on April 3 and Creekside on March 20.

Adding to the remarkable run is the trajectory the team is displaying in its cumulative scores. Each tournament the team’s scores have gotten lower. Starting with the tournament on March 20 the Viking team scores are 385, 377, 377, 357 and 351. The team score is determined by adding up the individual scores of the top four of five scoring varsity golfers.

Each of the five members of the Viking varsity golf team has seen their individual scores drop also, led by sophomore Ryan Klampe who has averaged an 18-hole score of 79.

Klampe is on a streak of his own, finishing at the top of the standings in three straight tournaments. He tied for the individual title on April 11 at McNary and won outright on April 12 in Florence and April 17 at Salishan.

Coach Chuck Johnson credits Klampe’s leadership as a big reason why his team is on this run starting with a speech he made after the team’s first win on March 20 at Harrisburg.

“I think we really started coming together as a team after the Creekside tournament,” recalled Coach Johnson. “Ryan gathered the whole team together and said ‘listen guys. I think we can all go to state’. That made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I was just so proud of that one little moment.”

Along with Klampe’s leadership, Coach Johnson points to a couple other factors for his team’s success, most notably last year’s Siuslaw team, the first since 2015.

“Realistically, last year’s team set the table for this year’s,” explained Coach Johnson. “We’ve got four kids that have broken into the varsity line-up this year that weren’t even on the team last year so I’m sure they heard what we were trying to do and wanted to be a part of it.”

Another factor in the team’s meteoric rise is the play of freshman Will Johnson.

“Will has come and become one of the top golfers in our district,” said Coach Johnson [no relation to Will]. “Especially impressive when he’s also trying to master three tough disciplines in track and field at the same time [hurdles, pole vault and triple jump].”

Also laying the foundation for the success of any high school golf program is the opportunities provided to junior golfers and Florence is lucky in that sense.

“A big part of this resurrection is due to Nik Remer and the junior program he runs at Florence Golf Links,” said Coach Johnson. “Ocean Dunes also supports the local golf movement.”

Besides Klampe and Johnson, the boys varsity golf team includes three other valuable members whose scores have also improved with each tournament during the streak.

Junior Braxton Hulet finished 6th out of 49 golfers at Salishan on April 17 with a score of 90, his lowest of the season.

Jacob Welton provides strong leadership as the lone senior on the varsity team. Freshman Camden Linton earned his way on to the varsity with strong performances on the JV team early in the season and also competes for the Viking track team.

Next up for the Siuslaw boys golf team is a tournament at Mallard Creek Golf Course in Lebanon on April 24. The team will get its chance to qualify for state at the district tournament on May 8-9 at Chehalem Glenn Golf Course in Newberg. The top three teams at the event qualify for state the following week in McKenzie Bridge at Tokatee Golf Course on May 15-16.